How to Study in South Africa for Free (9 Steps)

There always are people who search for a special kind of adventure. Those who believe that studying in the Old World or even in Asia is not interesting enough. They want to live through something different, unique, something very few have ever experienced before. South Africa is the country for this type of people. Located in the very South of the African continents, it boasts a one-of-a-kind history, culture, and serves as a bridge between local lands and the Western world. It is the place of safari rides, numerous nature parks, mountains, beaches, and so many more tempting attractions. In this article, we will be looking at how to study in South Africa for free.

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How to Study in South Africa for Free

1. Put Extra Effort in the Application

If you are curious about getting your higher education in South Africa, one thing you must consider is the quality of your application. As an international student, you may be at a certain disadvantage compared to the local soon-to-be freshmen.

To avoid the disappointment of getting rejected, you should prepare a splendid application that showcases all of the best sides of your persona. Prove to the educational institution that you are worthy to join the ranks of their students. Impress them with fantastic test scores and jaw-dropping achievements. This is the easiest way not only to get accepted into the university but to study in South Africa for free by receiving a scholarship.

2. Prepare in Advance

You must be ready to submit the paperwork as soon as the application process has begun. Do not make the mistake many people who dream of becoming a university student often commit. By the time the majority of people start to work on their documentation, you should have it ready.

The applicant who is able to take their time and prepare over a long period will always have an upper hand, as they are able not only to gather all the required paperwork while avoiding the hassle of the last-minute rush but also correct and improve the results that they may not have been satisfied with.

3. Research the International Organizations

If receiving a government-run or university scholarship is not possible at the time of application, it is a good choice to research the international foundations that provide financial support to students worldwide. Funds and organizations such as OFID Scholarship Award or ESED Scholarship have helped thousands of people to fulfill their dream of studying in South Africa for free, and you may be the next lucky applicant to receive the hefty support.

4. Apply for Scholarships in South African Universities

South African universities provide a wide selection of scholarships. You can find stipends that can be acquired both by undergraduate and graduate students. For example, the University of Cape Town offers so-called Entrance scholarships to prospective undergraduate students.

The information on the financial aid offered by a university can normally be found on the school’s homepage. In case the provided information is unclear, the applicant should contact the institution for detailed guidance on how to apply and receive financial aid.

These scholarships and financial aid from South African universities can be a great way for you to be able to study in South Africa for free. If you have a great application, getting scholarships would be much easier. So, definitely take the time to research!

5. Check if Your Government Provides Monetary Support

To ensure that you check every single available opportunity, take a look at the funding options provided by the government of your country. It has been a strong trend in Europe and in other regions of the world for local administrations to promote higher educations and work towards the goal of supporting their citizens. The governments of such countries like Germany or Norway have been especially successful, but other states have followed the suit.

6. Find Affordable Universities in South Africa

Attending affordable universities can be a step in the right direction toward your goal of studying in South Africa for free. Most undergraduate degree programs in South African universities will run the student around $3,000 per year. Postgraduate tuition fees range from $1,500 to $5,000 per annum, depending on the coursework. Additional information on the expenses can be found on the University of Pretoria homepage.

However, if you feel like the charges are too high, keep in mind that there are always schools that offer lower tuition fees. It is worth to skim through as many universities as you can find before you will have made the final decision. If you are interested, read about the 6 Affordable Universities in South Africa for International Students.

7. Submit the Application

“Measure seven times, cut once.” This Russian proverb closely relates to this final stage of the application process. Make sure you have checked all the documentation several times; review and go through all the information; consult with the university website. If for any reason you will have made a mistake in your submission, you may not be able to correct it afterwards. Therefore, ensure that every little detail is pristine and proper upon the initial submission.

8. Seek out a Part-Time Employment

While it is true that South Africa is not as student-friendly as some other countries when it comes to the student looking for a job, it still allows for part-time employment. According to the Department of Home Affairs website, the holder of a valid study visa may work in South Africa for a period that does not exceed 20 hours per week. It is important that the student obeys the law and avoids doing overtime hours, as it may result in their exemption from the educational institution, as well as the country of South Africa.

However, if you choose to find a job, it may be a fantastic opportunity for you to improve your overall living conditions, as well as to help study in South Africa for free, especially if you did not get a scholarship that covered the cost of your studies.

9. Spend Less While You are There

The University of the Witwatersrand states that a person who wishes to live and study in South Africa should be expected to pay $800 per month, rent and meals included. Being an average projection, however, you must understand that there always are ways to increase or decrease the expenses. You may choose to eat out at cheaper restaurants or to avoid using public transportation. Instead of paying for a local phone number, you may stick with the free Internet solutions, such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. As a student, you have to calculate and consider all the possible expenses to avoid wasting money on items that do not hold substantial value.


I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Scholarships Page.